WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in the Marshall Islands
83% Rating
(28 Reviews)

WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in the Marshall Islands

On the Marshall Islands, primary school is mandatory for Grades 1-8, though many children are not enrolled. As a volunteer teacher on the Marshall Islands, you could teach in public elementary schools, high schools, or vocational schools. One placement is an urban area with larger and more advanced classes, and another in a rural area where the communities are largely untouched by modernity.

Our Marshall Islands program is fully funded by the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education and volunteer airfare is also covered.

With our year-long program, you can also become TEFL certified to earn credibility and give you an edge in the ESL teaching job market. While certification usually costs about $1,899, with WorldTeach you can become certified for only $350 while also gaining priceless in-country teaching experience.

Watch our webinar (http://bit.ly/1t22U9U) to hear directly from previous volunteer teachers and field staff on what it's like to teach in the Marshall Islands.

Locations
Oceania » Marshall Islands
Length
6-12 Months
Salary / Benefits
• Personal guidance through application process
• Pre-departure literature & preparation
• Comprehensive visa sponsorship & assistance
• Health & emergency evacuation insurance
• Orientation Training- including teacher training, teaching practicum, language and cultural immersion, safety and security briefing
• Support from full time in-country staff
• Professional development with Teacher Quality
Coordinator
• Meals & housing during training and conferences
• Transportation to and from placement site
• Monthly stipend
• Housing at placement site
• Mid-Service Conference
• End-of-Service Conference
• Option to get TEFL certified in some programs
• *Select programs include international airfare from a
U.S. gateway city
Accommodation
Host Family
Currency
USD
Other Locations
Majuro, Ebeye

Questions & Answers

Rob, Thank you for your interest in a WorldTeach teaching position. Unfortunately, we only offer year long teaching positions to candidates who hold a degree. This is partly our policy, but the Ministries and Departments of Education we partner with require you hold a degree to teach in their schools as well. Summer teaching programs only require you are 18 or older, however we do not offer a summ...

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    79%
  • Support
    79%
  • Fun
    76%
  • Facilities
    82%
  • Safety
    82%

Program Reviews (28)

Default avatar
Justin
Male
42 years old
Oakland, CA
Harvard University

A life-changing and character-building experience you will never forget

8/10

I was among the first cohort of volunteers for WorldTeach's RMI program and--as a fresh college grad at the time--truly had the experience of a lifetime. In a sense, living on a remote atoll in the middle of the Pacific turned out to be precisely what I bargained for: I literally lived in a grass hut with no indoor plumbing, telephone, or internet (thank God for the A/C unit), and passed time by playing ukulele, spearfishing, and sharing cultural practices with the villagers. It was a character building experience, and one I could probably never do again (as an "adult" who now craves certain first-world foods and amenities). Without a doubt, I emerged a better, more patient, and more culturally sensitive person--albeit one who was blissfully yet woefully oblivious to what had just happened in the rest of the world during that year. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world.

That said, to write a fair and honest review, I should also alert potential program participants to the dangers of living in a remote island country. I was not healthy for much of the year, and probably lost 30 pounds. I fell ill numerous times--including being sent to a local hospital on Majuro, the capital--and had at least one near-death experience spearfishing in rough waters. Bathing in rain catchment water for a year (and the ocean) ruined my skin--which took years to clean up--and living with no indoor plumbing, including hot water, occasionally drove me mad. I also recall spending days fending off rats and other insects and animals that tested my patience (yes, I even participated in a ritualistic pig and turtle slaughter for a banquet).

These warnings are not so much about the program itself, of course, but rather the vicissitudes of living in any developing nation. My only gripe about the program would be the general lack of support from our field director at the time, who--while a great, stand-up guy--did little to tend to our individual concerns. Fortunately, the Marshallese inherently exude such kindness and generosity that I always felt like I had a family and all the support I needed.

How can this program be improved?

Ensure participants are aware of the dangers of living in a remote, underdeveloped country where infrastructure and rule-of-law are still embryonic (or non-existent) in some areas.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this extensive review, and for accurately describing the difficult living conditions of the Marshall Islands. The WorldTeach Marshall Islands program is undoubtedly the most remote environment that we teach in, and therefore, the safety of our volunteers is our main priority. During the interview process, volunteers applying to the Marshall Islands are informed of the difficult living conditions in the Marshall Islands, especially the outer islands WorldTeach only accepts volunteers that we deem able to deal with this environment. Once accepted, volunteers first receive extensive pre-departure literature, which introduces many topics about living and teaching in the specific host country, including the living conditions, safety and security, diet and health, cost of living, cultural challenges that one can expect to confront, and the current state of the education system. Prior to departure, accepted volunteers are also given contact information of alumni who act as Country Experts so that they can receive additional perspectives from the field. This is why reviews like yours are vital for our prospective volunteers to have an accurate account of the service they will be entering. Once volunteers arrive to the Marshalls, they participate in an orientation for 3-4 weeks, where a large emphasis is placed on safety and health, and covers existing safety protocol and requirements, specific to both the outer islands and the more urban center. Thank you again for addressing this very important issue.

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Shaun
Female
32 years old
Austin, TX
University of California- Berkeley

Amazing Experience

9/10

The WorldTeach Marshall Islands program is a great experience. On an outer island I was able to stay with a host family which was the most amazing experience. I ate their food, went to their celebrations and learned handicrafts and traditions. I was able to really be a part of the community. The Marshallese have so much to offer and I loved my time with my family and community.

It's also true that my experience there was one of the most difficult of my life. Because it is a developing nation, amenities such as hot water, electricity, and internet are not guaranteed. Transportation to and from the outer islands is spotty so mail and supplies are consistently late. Despite all of these obstacles, our field directors worked tirelessly to get us our mail or make sure we were up to date on news. They were thoughtful by sending us things we requested from the capitol, Majuro. Our field directors were unbelievably supportive.

The Marshall Islands program is not for everyone. It can be difficult and frustrating but I learned so much about myself and the Marshallese. They are a wonderful, hospitable and loving culture. The WorldTeach Marshall Islands is definitely a one of a kind program.

How can this program be improved?

The interview process was the only portion of the program that wasn't helpful. My interviewer painted an unflattering picture of the RMI and of her fellow volunteers. She was also not entirely polite about some of my extracurricular activities when we were sharing about relevant experiences.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review. I want to apologize for the unfortunate and unfriendly experience you had during your interview process. In the past, our interviews were held with alumni; now, we have an Admissions Coordinator that conducts all interviews.

That being said, it is unacceptable that the interviewer presented her opinions in a way that hindered you to enter the program without set expectations. It is of course very important to be realistic about the difficulties of serving and teaching, especially in a country like the Marshall Islands, but each volunteer creates their own experience and therefore cannot judge other volunteers' actions or experiences.

Thank you for addressing this important issue, it is extremely helpful for WorldTeach to be aware of these incidents.

Default avatar
Jacob
Male
42 years old
Seattle, WA
University of Oregon

WorldTeach RMI

8/10

My expectation that I could foster high academic standards in my classroom at an outer islands high school was not consistent with the students' abilities, nor was it compatible with the resources available to me. Nothing in the WorldTeach program -- geared mostly toward elementary schools -- prepared me for the experience. My time as a teacher would have been much better spent (both for me and for my students) if I had totally abandoned any pretense of a curriculum and instead focused completely on just getting to know my students, playing games with them, etc. It was overall a positive experience, but it took me much longer to adjust than I imagined it would.

How can this program be improved?

WorldTeach could have done a better job communicating realistic expectations of school conditions and community dynamics. Better instruction of the Marshallese language would have been helpful as well.

Default avatar
Emily
Female
42 years old
Greensboro, NC
Other

Life Changing Experience

10/10

I lived on an outer island atoll and LOVED it! Despite having no running water, electricity, and barely any contact with the outside world, I would not trade this experience for anything! I was fortunate to have two AMAZING leaders who did all they could to make us feel at home, welcomed and taken care of. I was with a group of amazing individuals whom I love and will cherish for life. They are a group of people who truly understand how life changing it can be to go outside of your comfort via shipping boat for 5 days on open waters and be "stranded" on an island survivor style. You have the chance to learn to spear fish/sharks/octopus, husk coconuts, learn traditional islands dances, cook traditional island foods, operate on a completely different pace and schedule, and appreciate being unplugged from cell phones, internet, and all the distractions of your life. You will create a bond with your host family that will last a life time, and with your students and teaching staff. You will learn how much you are able to handle, and how to adapt to new situations, and hopefully a little bit of the native language. Despite the good, bad and ugly stories/reviews you may have, if you are looking for an experience that will push you to discover who you are and what you are made of, do this program. Even if you don't plan on being a teacher, I would still highly suggest doing this program. They will teach and train you to be an amazing teacher, you just have to guts to try.

How can this program be improved?

To be honest, the first day in LA at the hotel. It was a little rushed, and would have liked a little more time to be able to get to know the volunteers before the long flight. Overall, it was a great program, and at this moment cannot pin point one specific problem.

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Ben
Male
24 years old
Colorado
Colorado State University

Teaching in the Marshall Islands

10/10

Teaching in the RMI was the most challenging and most rewarding experience I have ever had. Living on an outer island comes with times of difficulty. You are extremely isolated from the norms of which you had while back in your home state or country. For many outer islands volunteers, communication to friends and family back home is limited to post mail, which may only come 3 or 4 times during your whole year. It may also be hard to find some alone time after a stressful day or week of teaching, because your students and other members of the community always want to be around the World Teach Volunteer. That being said, I loved every minute I spent on the island I was teaching and it had a huge impact on my life. You are able to connect with the students on a level I never thought would be possible. My students became my best friends, which made classroom management sometimes harder to deal with, but it was well worth it. I became extremely close with not only my host family, but the entire community as well. They were the kindest, most loving people I have ever met. Of course there are times when you are extremely frustrated with school, a student, or something else going on on the island, as can happen anywhere else in the world. But at the end of the day, you realize where you are. A place where many people would call paradise, but you are lucky enough to call it home.

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M.
Female
42 years old
Saint Louis, MO
University of Dayton

It was THE BEST! !

10/10

WorldTeach provided me with an experience that I will never forget...in fact, I truly think about my time in the Marshall Islands every day. I dream of someday reenrolling in the program!! Perhaps once I retire! I have recommended this program to everyone I know and truly believe it changed my life for the best!

How can this program be improved?

Na

Default avatar
Colleen
Female
42 years old
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
University of California- Berkeley

World Teach - Marshall Islands

10/10

This was an absolutely incredible experience and World Teach did a phenomenal job organizing/structuring the program. Highly recommended! Now 10 years later people are still intrigued with this part of my CV, and I am not anywhere near the teaching profession. Go for it :-)

Default avatar
Evelyn
Female
32 years old
St. Louis, MO
Cornell University

Review

7/10

Although it was a very challenging year, I don't regret it. The highs are really high but the lows are extremely low. As long as you lose your expectations and ego, you will have a rewarding experience - even if it is in retrospect (it was hard for me to appreciate everything I learned and the people I met until I left). That year has affected every choice I've made since.

How can this program be improved?

Don't do Majuro.

Default avatar
Justin
Male
32 years old
San Diego, CA
Colorado College

Great Program

8/10

I highly recommend the worldteach marshall islands program. If you're looking to have a completely different experience from anything else in this life, do this program. Though your experience will be challenging, you will learn so much.

Default avatar
Phillip
Male
32 years old
Melbourne, Australia
Southern Cross University

Great organisation, great program

10/10

I did the World teach program in 2011/12 on a remote Marshallese atoll. I taught English to five classes daily and lived with a lovely family on a paradise of an island. WT is well run and this is a fantastic choice for people keen to teach ESL OS.

Default avatar
WorldTeach
Male
32 years old
USA
Other

Good experience, but critical lack of field support

6/10

Overall, I found my year in the Marshall Islands to be meaningful, and full of rewarding experiences. The people in my town were welcoming and supportive, and it was a great experience to become completely immersed in another culture.
Having said that, the support system in place for volunteers in-country was lacking, and the field directors proved unable to cope with sudden or unexpected problems that arose over the course of the year. Whether it was the plane that delivered mail and supplies breaking down, or the ships that were supposed to deliver our luggage never leaving port, things don't always go as planned, especially in a country like the RMI, but our field directors often told us that they didn't have time to find another option, or were incredibly slow in going to plan B. The big issue my year was that about 2 months into our program, Dengue Fever arrived in the Marshall Islands and began spreading to all the islands. While our two field directors were passionate about their job and very nice, their lack of experience (it was the first year as field director for both of them) meant that they were quickly overwhelmed, and their communication with both parents and volunteers about Dengue Fever, and the steps they were taking to address it, completely broke down. As a volunteer on an island with no way of getting any kind of news, having my field director have nothing to tell me on our weekly radio check-in about how they were handling the situation beyond repeating the short memo that the embassy put out shook my faith in the ability of the directors to give us effective support.
In addition, we were told that the purpose of the program was to provide English teachers to remote schools while that school's English teacher went to the capital to get additional teacher training. However, as far as I know, almost none of the schools that had volunteers actually sent a teacher in for more training. I know mine didn't.
I would really like to recommend this program, because for me it was a rewarding experience and I formed lasting friendships with the other volunteers, who were all awesome and amazing. But given the inability of our field directors to provide effective support when serious problems arose, and the fact that Worldteach placed two field directors with no experience in charge of the program where volunteers are the most isolated and need the most support, I don't feel like I could recommend it to my friends.

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Marci
Female
57 years old
Massachusetts
Brandeis University

Extremely well-run, challenging experience

10/10

WorldTeach Marshall Islands is an extremely well-run program with tremendous support on the ground. The Marshallese people are warm and welcoming. It's inspiring to see how the Marshallese make the most of limited resources in their humble but beautiful tropical islands. Life in the Marshalls is a challenge, but if you're the kind of person that thrives on a challenge, you'll have an experience that will change your outlook and perspective forever. Highly recommended.

How can this program be improved?

More organized school administrators - but I realize that's asking a lot.

Default avatar
Laurence
Female
32 years old
Montreal, Quebec
Concordia University

Teaching on an island of 200 people!

8/10

If you are ready to experience a very different culture and lifestyle, if you want to face yourself and surmount the challenges that being isolated bring, consider this program. Your mind has to be in the right place. You have to give your heart wholly to the kids. You will make connections, experience beauty and be surprised every day if you allow yourself to be. Highlights for me included singing with my students, seeing their awareness of the world open up ("What? Dragons aren't real?"), slowing down to life on island time, being close to nature and utilizing my creativity in the classroom. My favourite moment was being taken spearfishing one day and devouring the fish seconds later while still standing in the lagoon. The diet, isolation and discipline in the classroom were the greatest challenges for me.

How can this program be improved?

Improved packing list pre-departure and teacher quality program feedback delivered to outer-islanders too.

Default avatar
Smadar
Female
32 years old
Los Angeles, CA
Wellesley College

Marshall Islands, Namdrik 2013

10/10

Going to the Marshall Islands for a year was the best decision I have ever made. I'm not saying the experience was easy– dengue fever, attacking dogs, dealing with drunk island men, and working as a teacher in a community that doesn't really need Western-style learning for survival or daily life were some of the challenges I faced. But it was definitely a journey whose ups and downs opened my mind to a different way of living, a different set of ethics, etiquette, mode of communication, and cultural traditions, and made me more able to understand and analyze the society I came from and the unspoken tenets I had adhered to and unwittingly accepted as a member.
This is not a program for someone who wants constant supervision and support, but rather for someone who enjoys being thrown into the water and having to figure out how to swim. Your communication with the field directors consists of one or two radio calls a week–maybe. There really aren't any curriculum books to guide your teaching, no teacher training/ mentorship, and no copy machine. I liked that freedom to do whatever I wanted and teaching was a constant experiment. That said, island life on Namdrik (the island I was placed on) is in many ways a lot less stressful and scary than life in urban centers. You have time to chat with your host family and neighbors, play with neighborhood kids, swim in the lagoon, cook, take jambos (walks), and snorkel.
I will admit that a few of the other volunteers didn't have quite the positive experience I did. For example, there was a drought my volunteer year and while Namdrik was fine because it's in the far south by the Equator and receives lots of rain, there were food and water shortages in the north and a volunteer had to be evacuated (this was after her host family stopped giving her sufficient food). In additions, a couple of the volunteer teachers were teaching far more students than should be possible (think close to 50 kids in one classroom), and one volunteer ended up being the caretaker for her host family's children when the parents decided to take off for the main island for the remainder of the year. But for the vast majority of volunteers, our year with WorldTeach in the RMI was a transformational, challenging, and wonderful experience we will revisit regularly in our minds for the rest of our our lives that strengthened us and helped us grow our souls a bit. And in my case, my time on Namdrik also guided me to a career path that I am excited about and fits who I am after years of wandering aimlessly through different job experiences after college. A great gift indeed.
So to sum it up, do this program, or something like it that gets you out of your comfort zone and introduces you to a different world.

How can this program be improved?

All the imperfections stemmed from how life rolls on the Marshall Islands. Just a part of life there.

Default avatar
Hester
Female
32 years old
Oregon
University of Victoria

Amazing and Challenging

10/10

On an outer island flexibility and curiosity was a must. Life was *completely* different than what it was back home. This meant I had to give myself readjustment time. This meant allowing myself to feel either blue or homesick, but always trying to take a look at what I did have.
I had an excellent host-family and, on an island of about 400 inhabitants, it's hard to not feel like everyone is somehow "extended-family".

The airplane didn't work all year, which was frustrating, but I had mentally prepared to stay on Mejit the entire time, so it wasn't as difficult as if I had hoped to return. Joining the choir for Christmas and learning the dancing was a highlight of my time. Did I actually know all the words I was singing? No, but did everyone (myself included) appreciate my attempt? Yes we did.

Mejit and the RMI were beautiful and amazing though, most decidedly worth a visit!

Default avatar
Sara
Female
32 years old
Massachusetts
Stonehill College

Amazing Experience

10/10

WorldTeach gave me the opportunity to spend a year teaching in the Marshall Islands. Being able to live and teach in the Marshall Islands was an absolute privilege. My Marshallese students and the community welcomed me with open arms. The training WorldTeach provided right before I went to my placement island, helped me to understand cultural differences and be respectful right from the beginning. I felt supported from the moment I started the interview process. I highly recommend WorldTeach as well as the Marshall Islands placement to everyone who is interested in teaching abroad.

Default avatar
Amy
Female
42 years old
United States
University of Connecticut

Fantastic Program

9/10

I volunteered with WorldTeach RMI in 2005-2006 and was very happy with my experience. The screening process was very thorough and the staff and returned volunteers were very helpful in preparing for the experience. The in-country orientation was exceptional: the field director set up an extensive training program that assured that we were equipped with the right tools not only to teach but to navigate and assimilate to a different culture. I was placed on an Outer Island and was very happy with the support that I received: from the Buddy program, weekly radio check-ins, and monthly newsletter to on-site teaching evaluations, refresher courses at the mid-year break, and caring personal attention when challenges arose. I had an incredible time teaching at an elementary school and living with a host family on my island. This experience changed my life and I recommend it to anyone who is ready to challenge themselves physically and mentally and to commit themselves to educating students who are in great need.

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Paul
Male
32 years old
India
University of Georgia

An amazing experience

9/10

I was stationed on Utrok, one of the outer islands in the country. It was incredible, the people were amazing, the teaching rewarding, and it is definitely an experience that will stick with me always.

Default avatar
Dan
Male
32 years old
United States
University of Portland

Great Experience

9/10

The Marshall Islands program was one of the best years of my life. I was specifically placed on the main island of Majuro and taught 10th grade English at the high school. I lived with 8 other volunteers in community on the campus in a dorm. There was a program director living on the island for help at all times. Before beginning the school year we had a month of intensive in-country orientation that included cultural, language, and teaching instruction.

How can this program be improved?

I guess the only thing I would change is the amount of checkins by the supervisors. They were VERY busy, but it would be great if they could have come into our classrooms once a month maybe instead of once the whole year.

Default avatar
I
Female
24 years old
United States
George Mason University

You'll love it and hate it at the same time

7/10

I was placed on Kwajalein Atoll and while I did grow to love where I lived and the people in my community, I did struggle with teaching there. There was not a lot of support from other staff members and in some ways, I felt I was doing more harm than good. This is a country that relies heavily on aid money and I believe it has left the country and its people to depend too much on aid and help. However, with that said, if I had to do it over again, I would. I learned a lot about development there (not all good) and I cherish the families I came to be apart of in my community. Just keep in mind that your expectations, even the ones WorldTeach tries to tell you, will be vastly different from reality. Like most things, this is a complex society which you will not fully understand even after a year of living and working there. I have friends who did other programs with WorldTeach and loved it so I would probably recommend a different program for most people I know.

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Peter
Male
42 years old
Toronto, Canada
University of California- San Diego

Great but VERY challenging experience

8/10

WorldTeach did a wonderful job of setting up the program, my teaching placement, host family, etc. I was on an outer island and they did everything possible to keep me safe and supported, even at a great distance.
The teaching placement was EXTREMELY difficult, but that is par for the course.

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Disappointed
Female
24 years old
United States
American University

Unorganized; Little Support

3/10

Although I've completed three years of full-time volunteer service with different organizations (WorldTeach, another foreign program, and a domestic USA program), WT RMI was the only program that I had a difficult time with. The WT organization failed to pass on my application to the RMI program (which was originally listed as my second choice program). I had to re-apply in order to gain acceptance into the program. They also advertise the RMI program as being "fully funded", though in reality most volunteers must spend quite a bit of out-of-pocket money to 1) pay for a flight to the departure site, and 2) supplement their small stipend on-island for basic necessities. There seems to be an assumption that most or all volunteers have people that can send them care packages with needed items; however, many islands are difficult to even get mail or packages to.

The WT RMI program itself was unorganized and offered little support. Teacher training was quick, general (not geared to the situation of the RMI), and overall lacking. Many volunteers were on unsafe outer island conditions (no food and a drought, for instance) and some took months to receive any real help from WT.

What I did appreciate from the program was support from other volunteers. Weekly teacher check-ins gave great peer advice on ways to handle teaching situations.

The crumbling infrastructure of the RMI makes it a difficult place to house a program such as WT. Many times, volunteers are the only person at their school who really seem to take work seriously. Despite volunteers coming year after year, even schools with regular WT volunteers seem to show little, if any, real progress. Many volunteers teach basic phonics skills to all students (K-8). The education system is severely broken, which is obviously not the fault of the WT program. That being said, if WT can't make the program work in a way that's benefiting the schools and providing volunteers with the support they need, this program should be reconsidered.

I loved my students. I loved teaching. I don't regret my time in the RMI. That being said, I would NOT recommend the WT program to others.

Response from WorldTeach

Thank you so much for taking the time to submit this review, it is extremely important and helpful for us to receive this feedback about our program in the Marshall Islands.

Our primary concern at WorldTeach is the safety of our volunteers. We would not be in the Marshall Islands, nor would have continued the program there for over ten years, if we felt our volunteers were in unsafe living conditions. Our US office and our field staff work with the Marshallese government to ensure the safety of our volunteers, which is our highest priority. If there is an emergency, this may mean chartering a boat or plane to access volunteers in the outer islands. We have worked closely with the RMI to make sure that these options are always available. In fact two years ago the Minister in Assistance to the President personally sent the plane to pick up a WorldTeach volunteer who was thought at the time to have appendicitis.

Life on the outer islands is rural and simple; WorldTeach only places volunteers there that are searching for that lifestyle. In regards to the availability of food in the outer islands, you are correct that sometimes the cargo boats are delayed in delivering food provisions, and there are problems sometimes with local production (or the water supply.) WorldTeach will not leave a volunteer without appropriate food and water, obviously. And we feel the volunteers are the best able to determine if the situation on the island is an appropriate one for his/her needs. These challenges are an aspect of living in a developing country or a different culture that may be difficult for some people to become accustomed to, but that in essence is the challenge of WorldTeach. The urban islands of the Marshall Islands are more developed with additional resources; volunteers are placed in both settings based upon their preferences.

In response to your comment on costs, the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program is fortunate in its funding received by the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education which covers the volunteer cost, including airfare from a designated US departure city. You are correct that volunteers must pay their way to that US city. We clearly communicate this on our website, in pre-departure material, and through direct communication with volunteers that there is the responsibility to get to and from this gateway city. Additionally, all WorldTeach volunteer stipends are simple living wages for daily necessities, and extra costs are the responsibility of the volunteer. This of course requires some budgeting but the stipends are generally felt to be sufficient to cover the basic necessities.

WorldTeach highly values our Orientation, which starts upon arrival to the country and lasts 3-4 weeks, including teacher training, cultural and language immersion. This is an introduction to Teaching English as a Foreign Language; the real learning comes from teaching in the classroom. Volunteers learn to be flexible, as working in a foreign educational system can be very challenging as you have discovered. But when the volunteers have their own classes, there is the opportunity to connect with students, as obviously you have done, and to further their educations. Hopefully you have also seen where the failures are in the system, and have thought about ways that they might effectively be addressed.

Through the WorldTeach Department of Education, we are currently working to gather assessment data to show the impact that our volunteers have on their students. Progress is progress, in any quantifiable amount. WorldTeach is confident that we are in fact creating change for our students, and providing invaluable experiences for our volunteers.

Thank you again for sharing your response to this interesting but challenging program.

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Gareth
Male
32 years old
Majuro, Marshall Islands
University of Glamorgan

Amazing People, Amazing Experience

10/10

I'm a worldteach volunteer currently teaching at Rairok elementary school on Majuro 13-14. I have to say this experience has been one of the best in my life. I have met such incredible people, from my Marshallese host family, community members to other Worldteach volunteers (who come from everywhere in the world). The program is basically divided in two Outer Island and Majuro. Majuro is the capital and has most things youd ever need, while Outer Islands have practically nothing (with the exception of Kwajelin where the U.S military base is located).

You need to be open, mature and flexible as a definite requirement to come here. If you can be this, and relish being independent you can do very well here. The RMI is stunningly beautiful. Some people say that Outer Island life is the best, but I'd argue that Majuro offers a lot of insight and opportunities too. Getting away to Arno to experience outer island life and explore are major highlights for me. This as well as making some life long friends from Texas and Australia.

Apply, you really wont regret it!

How can this program be improved?

Don't spend so much!

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Carrie
Female
32 years old
McLean, VA
College of William and Mary

Amazing Experience

10/10

I taught on the Arno Atoll in the Marshall Islands, in the town of Lukoj during the 2007-2008 school year. I was the first volunteer in that town, though not on the atoll. Arno is an outer atoll-meaning it has very limited resources and is very primitive. It is a 1-1 1/2 hr boat ride to the capital, Majuro.

My town was about 150 people, 45 of whom were in the K-8 school where I taught. I taught English to the K/1, 2/3, 4/5 and 6/8 classes (no 7th graders the year I was there), science to the 6/8 class for the first half of the year, and then math to the 8th graders for the 2nd half. The town was very appreciative of my efforts and were very supportive in a hands-off way. I was able to do more or less what I wanted with teaching. While there is a curriculum, the students were so far behind where they should be based on it, that I had to teach where they were. My 8th graders had difficulty with the 2nd grade English text books. The English text books we had were based for American students in American schools learning to read. They were not designed for learning English. I mainly created my own materials. We had a lot of construction paper, so I made bulletin boards from that. We did a lot of singing and interactive learning.

My host family was amazing and the highlight of my time there. They treated me like a daughter and when my parents visited, told them that they were my riballe (American) parents, while they themselves were my rimajel (Marshallese) parents. I had my own small hut on the family property. My mama cooked over a fire in the kitchen hut. We ate a lot of white rice with canned meat over it. My town ate a lot of canned tuna, but also canned mackerel, spam, Vienna sausages and other canned meat. Pancakes, homemade donuts, ramen and fish were also very common. I loved when my mama made local Marshallese food, which is delicious. Breadfruit, pandanus, and coconuts were also staples.

A typical weekday:
Wake up with the dawn/roosters
Write in my journal, get ready for the day
About 7:30-eat breakfast (pancakes topped with peanut butter, ramen, donuts, etc)
8:00--walk to school
8:15--school day started with group assembly, song and prayer
8:30--classes started. English, Math and Marshallese were an hour each. Science and Social Studies were 45 minutes each. I rotated to each classroom to teach English, as I did not have my own room.
Noonish--walk home for an hour lunch (rice topped with meat--either canned or fish)
1-2:30--finish school day
2:30-4:30 ish--lesson plan, prep for the next day, work in the mini school library I put together, hold English Club, etc
4:30 ish--play volleyball with the young adults and older students or take a walk on the beach and exercise
6:30ish--dinner (similar to lunch)
Dark--sit in my hut with solar powered light with my host family's kids (2 4th graders) and often other school kids. I tutored the 8th graders many nights, played cards with the kids, read, journaled, etc
9ish--went to bed

On weekends, I lesson planned, graded, etc. I took beach walks on Friday nights with as many students who wanted to come. This was a highlight of my stay. We'd walk down the beach, and at each house, kids would run up and grab whoever lived there to join us. By the end of the walk, we'd easily have 30 kids! They brought flashlights and ran around, holding my hands, singing songs, etc. It was awesome.

Sunday was church twice--once in the morning and once in the afternoon. My host father was the pastor, so I felt like I needed to go. Not all volunteers attended church, but it's a big community event, so many do.

The boat from Majuro came three days a week. If I wanted to go to the capital for internet, phone, etc I would leave Friday at lunch and return Monday afternoon. This meant I missed 1 1/2 -2 days of work. They were fine with it, but you couldn't do it that often. That was where I had electricity and access to the outside world. I got mail on the boat once every 2 weeks, but could mail out letters anytime the boat left (3x a week--I typically mailed out once a week).

The outer islands are very isolated. You have a radio to communicate with other volunteers and the office staff in Majuro, but mine was broken October-May. I could use the CB radio in an emergency if needed. So I missed out on the volunteer bonding that happened on the radio. Mail took a while to get from the US to the RMI, and then to my island. So I was behind on news. Mail day was amazing though. I lived for packages and letters from home! In Majuro, I could email or talk on the phone to my family and boyfriend. I went about 7 times over the course of the year.

I felt very safe in my town. There was pretty much no crime. I never had anything stolen, but I didn't leave anything in sight that could be borrowed. I had a combination lock on my house door. In Majuro, I was cautious at night, but again, there is not much crime. I imagine there is more theft and petty crimes in Majuro, but I wasn't there much.

I LOVED the giant Christmas celebration and all the 1st birthday parties.

I could talk on and on about my experiences. I LOVED it and highly recommend WorldTeach and the RMI experience to everyone.

How can this program be improved?

Each volunteer was supposed to have access to a radio to do weekly check-ins and be able to talk to other volunteers to help with isolation. Mine was broken October-May, so I missed out on that. The radio was funded through the DOE and was not WorldTeach provided. My program director tried to get it fixed, but it never happened.

Default avatar
Haley
Female
24 years old
Ohio
Ohio State University

It is what you make it

7/10

My experience in the Marshall Islands was a much different experience than many other volunteers because I was in faculty housing (not with a host family) and I was in Kwajalein - a more urban, populated area. For almost everything involved though, I can say this program is what you make it. We were told from the very beginning to be flexible and independent as much as possible - I was lucky because independence was easy. Many people complained about not getting enough support - I thought the amount of support I was given was fine. I have no complaints. The thing to remember here is that you have to make all the first moves. Marshallese people are generally very welcoming and I think they were glad to have us there, but they're shy. You won't usually be able to tell if they even like you. And as for teaching there - all I can say is if you are someone who takes things personally or you are expecting to do a lot of teaching - this is not the place for you. It is glorified babysitting every day. You have to have a real sense of humor in this placement. I would get so frustrated every day because I wasn't doing much teaching and it really ruined the experience for me, but I know other volunteers who took things in stride and loved teaching here. It depends so much on what you are like. This program is an easy pick because it's fully funded, but you should really consider carefully if it is the right program for you. I would not suggest this program to a friend, but I would absolutely suggest World Teach to a friend - just choose your location wisely. I chose the RMI out of convenience - If I could go back, I would still volunteer to teach, but I think I would choose a different program.

Default avatar
Brian
Male
32 years old
Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona State University

WorldTeach Marshall Islands NOT about teaching!

3/10

Do not do this program if you actually care about volunteering or teaching!

WorldTeach is not supportive to the needs of their volunteers. Even though I was a volunteer, I was treated as if you I was working for the world's worse boss. The field director treated me as an inconvenience. I was left with no work for over a month and got stuck with the bill when I decided to leave early. They also tried to rip me off of my last monthly living allowance.

If you are planning to teach in the Marshall Islands you should do it directly through the Ministry of Education or the Dartmouth Volunteer Teacher Program.

Response from WorldTeach

We’re sorry to hear that you left such a beautiful place with such a negative experience. Please contact us at the head office ([email protected]) if you’d like to further discuss the details of how your time in the Pacific came to a close, and actively aid us in creating some solutions to ensure that each and every year, our volunteers have positive relationships with their schools, principals and fellow teachers. Aiding volunteers in building these relationships is imperative, as it’s these very communities that can be a great support system for new and seasoned teachers alike, not to mention the students that are counting on the commitment of a teacher in the classroom for the entire year. Ensuring that the students of our many programs can rely upon the commitment of volunteer teachers to be present the entire academic year means that we as an organization must be relied upon to be giving our volunteers the support they need. We thank you for your feedback.

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WorldTeach
Male
24 years old
Omaha, Nebraska
University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Don't Do It

2/10

There are many hidden costs that WorldTeach does not tell you about. Expect to spend thousands of your own money. You will receive zero support from field staff once you are in county. Additionally, the Marshallese people do not want Americans in their country, they will not make you feel welcome.

Response from WorldTeach

We are very fortunate that our partnership with the Marshallese Ministry of Education affords our volunteers the opportunity to go out to the Pacific without the need of payment for the volunteer commitment fee. In response to volunteer feedback, we have been working to change our pre-departure literature to every one of our programs, to more clearly outline the additional costs that volunteers can expect as they prepare to go abroad and while they are in-country. Thank you for your feedback on how we can continue to improve the process of setting our volunteers’ financial expectations before they depart for their time overseas. Please contact us at the head office ([email protected]) if you’d like to discuss with us further how we can continue to improve and best meet the needs of volunteers. We’d also love to have your proactive input for ways we can work with our volunteers to better equip them with the tools for integration into a foreign environment. We’d like for all of our volunteers to experience the positive connection that so many have had with the Marshallese people.

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Jaluit
Female
24 years old
USA
McGill University

One Amazing Year on an Island

10/10

If you've seen the information about the program, you know that WT in the Marshall Islands is a 10-month commitment to teach either in Majuro, the capital, or on an outer island. My placement was on an outer island in Jaluit atoll.

I had an incredible time. Teaching is the purpose for the program, and teaching consumed most of my time and thoughts. It's not a vacation because it's where you live and work; all the palm trees and white sand in the world can't cure the frustrations that come with being a teacher in a new school that's underfunded and staff that's generally underqualified. Nevertheless, the joy you get from watching your students succeed and discover themselves is completely worth it.

Why Marshall Islands versus anywhere else? While you can have a classroom full of fun, brilliant kids in many places, only in the Marshall Islands can you...

-sail on traditional, reversible mast, handmade sailing canoes
-be sung to and and showered with gifts of coconuts and food with a welcoming party
-be professional because you wear a muumuu to work... every day
-go swimming and it's better than any trip to the aquarium
-watch exorcisms, learn about how to heal with coconuts, and all about Marshallese medicine
-celebrate Christmas by throwing food around and dance in the keyboard show choir
-learn to spearfish, netfish, troll, linefish with no pole, etc.
-have 180 days of tropical sunsets

True, it's volunteering, but in the outer islands the monthly stipend is enough to get by. You won't make any money but you'll have an unforgettable year.

About The Provider

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WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to serve as volunteer teachers around the

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